HOUSTON – After a 65 day off-season, the Houston Dynamo returned to the practice field on Monday as they kicked off their pre-season camp for the 2014 campaign.
“When the off-season first starts, you think ‘Ok, I get a month or two’ but that goes by real quick,” forward Will Bruin said. “We’re out here starting another year, but I’m glad we’re back out here getting the ball rolling.”
With the arrival of a new year comes the realization that there are many new faces amongst the Orange jerseys. That doesn’t mean though, the expectations will change.
“It’s awesome and I wouldn’t want it any other way,” Bruin said. “Every year is to compete for the MLS Cup title and here we have that opportunity. No matter what the roster looks like, Dom (Kinnear) is going to get the best out of his players.”
The Dynamo’s 2013 season ended with a loss to Sporting KC in the Eastern Conference Finals. Now, the group looks a little different.
Gone are familiar faces like Brian Ching, Bobby Boswell, Calen Carr, and Cam Weaver. In their place, the Dynamo have added a young talented core that is hoping to filling the void left by those departed team leaders.
“I starting my fourth year, it’s gone by quick and I think it’s time for me to step up and take a leadership role,” Bruin said. “In past years we’ve had guys that have been around. We’ve got to move on and it’s time for us younger guys to step up.”
The Dynamo recently re-signed midfielder Andrew Driver. The team also acquired midfielder Tony Cascio from the Colorado Rapids and picked up several talented players in the MLS SuperDraft, including defender AJ Cochran.
The guy managing the roster is head coach Dominic Kinnear. It seems like the team, despite the ups and downs during the regular season, is always in the mix when it comes to playoff time. Many credit Kinnear as being that stabilizing force.
Dom is perfectly fine deflecting the praise.
“I haven’t kicked a ball since we moved here and I have the best seat in the house,” Kinnear said. “A lot of people say the ‘Dynamo Way’ but I just see it that sports can be simplified. Show up on time, respect your teammates and your opponents and be on the verge of winning the games.”
If they can stay healthy in 2014, then Kinnear feels this team can do some special things.
“When we were healthy last year, we were one of the better teams in the league,” Kinnear said. “I think we are a contender. Obviously the story of the season will tell that, but I look around the locker room and I like what we have.”
“I think we’ve had a good group of guys here and I haven’t had to do a lot of policing,” Kinnear continued. “I think everybody realizes that it’s a good opportunity to earn some money and win some championships so all you have to do is set the frame work and over the years I haven’t had to do too much.”
The Dynamo open the season against the New England Revolution on March 8th.